Abuse Testimony Won't Be Allowed in Murder Trial

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Rozek

Relatives of Janika Lovelace say she complained of being punched and beaten by boyfriend Jose Garcia during a sometimes stormy relationship.

But when the Elgin man goes on trial Monday on charges of murdering Lovelace during an argument, Cook County jurors probably won't hear those allegations of abuse.

Judge Sharon M. Sullivan ruled this week that testimony from Lovelace's mother and cousin about alleged physical violence wouldn't be allowed in Garcia's evidence because it's hearsay.

The women testified at a pre-trial hearing that they had been told by Lovelace about alleged abuse by Garcia, but hadn't witnessed it.

Sullivan, however, deferred a ruling on whether the women could be called as rebuttal witnesses if Garcia takes the stand in his own defense during the trial.

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New term: Talk about following the letter of the law.

An Illinois Appellate Court panel reviewing a 30-year prison sentence for sex offender George Granada didn't have a problem with the length of the jail term, but they had a bone to pick with the way it was imposed.

Granada pleaded guilty in 1993 to stabbing and raping a 31-year-old woman in a Schaumburg office building.

At his sentencing, Judge Karen Thompson-Tobin imposed the maximum 30-year term on aggravated criminal sexual assault charges, and lesser sentences to run at the same time on aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery charges.

But the appellate court ruled that the sentences properly should run end-to-end - although the court said the sentences could still total 30 years.

So Granada, at taxpayer expense and accompanied by two state guards, was hauled back this week from the Big Muddy Correctional Center in deep Southern Illinois to the Rolling Meadows courthouse for resentencing.

Thompson-Tobin ordered Granada to serve 15 years on the sex charge, 10 years on the kidnapping charge and five years for aggravated battery.

The net result? Only the paperwork has changed: Granada still has a 30-year sentence to serve.

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